First a note: We had a technical glitch deploying the newsletter yesterday and it didn’t land in everyone’s inbox. The issue wasn’t noticed until late in the day and by then it was too late. If you didn’t receive it yesterday, we sincerely apologize for missing you.
A review of Canadian political nomination races by the Samara Centre for Democracy has found that more than 70 per cent of them had but one contestant. The report, which is being released today, suggests Canada’s political parties’ practice of choosing or backing one contestant to represent their riding in an election is a major weakness in Canadian democracy because it ultimately reduces choice for voters and does not reflect the country’s demographic diversity.
Samara is a non-partisan charity that has produced a series of reports on the role of MPs. It reviewed nearly 3,900 federal nomination races that took place between 2003 and 2015 and conducted discussions with insiders connected to the major parties. As Ottawa-based reporter Bill Curry reports, the study produced a clear picture of not only how nomination races are conducted (quickly and without much forewarning) but also reveals that contests do not produce candidates any more diverse in terms of gender or ethnicity than if parties had just appointed their preferred candidate.
The study found that women made up less than 30 per cent of contestants; the NDP topping the list in that regard with 40 per cent of female nomination candidates, with the Liberals (29 per cent), Green Party (29 per cent), Bloc Québécois (27 per cent) and Conservatives (16 per cent) trailing.
The report suggests that Elections Canada could make tax credits on political donations conditional on whether or not parties set standards to encourage open and public nominations and perhaps also set established targets for the percentage of female candidates or candidates from underrepresented communities.
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Where are the Liberals today? Every morning, The Canadian Press circulates a schedule to newsrooms across the country that they put together based on itineraries and press releases from provincial and federal parties. We at The Globe and Mail have noticed quite the influx in Liberal cabinet ministers making announcements about, you know, funding this or funding that. Yesterday, Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos and Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough made simultaneous announcements for awarding maintenance contracts to two shipyards.
Today, the Liberals are making announcements about funding, partnerships or info sessions in Fredericton (Science Minister Kirsty Duncan); Saint-Anicet, Que. (Tourism Minister Mélanie Joly); Trois Rivières, Que. (Justice Minister David Lametti); Chatham, Kitchener, London and Milton, Ont. (Mr. Duclos); Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont. (Seniors Minister Filomena Tassi); Cranbrook, B.C. (Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi); Saanich, B.C. (Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development); Surrey, B.C., and Vancouver (Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor).
You’d think there was an election coming or something.
Meanwhile, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is in Saskatoon to attend the Dairy Farmers of Canada annual general meeting and later speaking with the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce; NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh makes a health-care announcement in Drummondville, Que., where his party is making a major push, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visits the Port of Montreal along with President of the European Council Donald Tusk.
According to a Nanos poll released yesterday, the Liberals have a six-point lead over the Conservatives. However, according to Angus Reid, the Conservatives hold an eight-point lead. Make of it what you will.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc received a free flight on a private plane owned by New Brunswick-based J.D. Irving Ltd. last month, but the flight was approved by the federal Ethics Commissioner. Mr. LeBlanc is fighting cancer and needed to travel to a hospital in Montreal from Moncton. The trip for medical consultations was pre-approved by Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion. Mr. LeBlanc and James D. Irving, who is the president and chief executive officer of J.D. Irving Ltd., are long-time friends. When Mr. LeBlanc joined the Liberal cabinet in 2015, he set up what’s called a “conflict of interest screen” to prevent him from participating in any government decisions that could directly affect Irving.
Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary-General of NATO, sounded a warning yesterday for countries allowing gear from China’s Huawei Technologies into their 5G wireless networks. He said it “remains to be seen” whether NATO intelligence-sharing between members of the Western military alliance will be affected. The largest member of NATO, the United States, has effectively barred Huawei from its 5G networks and has threatened to curtail the sharing of sensitive intelligence to countries that use Huawei equipment.
In Washington, Democrats in the House of Representatives voted yesterday to condemn President Donald Trump’s “racist comments” against four minority congresswomen. You’ll recall Mr. Trump tweeted on Sunday that the four should “go back” and fix the “crime-infested places from which they came.” It’s an embarrassing rebuke for Mr. Trump but it carries no legal repercussions,
And across the pond, a French politician is in hot water after spending lavishly on champagne and lobster. François de Rugy, France’s (former) environment minister, stepped down after an investigative report revealed that he and his wife played host to 10 taxpayer-funded dinners in 2017 and 2018 for between 10 and 30 guests that featured jumbo lobsters (no word if they were Canadian), champagne and expensive bottles from the National Assembly’s cellar such as Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Cheval Blanc and Château d’Yquem. Mr. de Rugy’s wife, Séverine, told the outlet that broke the story that the dinners helped her husband remain connected with the public.
Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on how a Liberal minority would be Alberta’s worst nightmare: “Should Mr. Trudeau need the help of [Green Party Leader Elizabeth] May and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh to prop up a minority government, it would obviously come at a cost. And that cost is almost certainly going to be in the area of the environment. Yes, we are talking about a state of affairs that would be Jason Kenney’s worst nightmare. Because if the Alberta Premier thinks Mr. Trudeau is a raving, oil-hating tree-hugger now, he hasn’t seen anything yet.”
Kevin Cokley (The Globe and Mail) on what is a real American: “If you are not American in the way that President Trump narrowly defines what an American is, your patriotism and love of country is immediately called into question. ”
David Shribman (The Globe and Mail) on the race to win the Democratic nomination: “After months of posturing, preening and practising, the field of two-dozen presidential aspirants is experiencing a form of political mitosis, separating into two nuclei – a group of five candidates whose members’ prospects are soaring and a separate group of hopefuls, about four times bigger, that is struggling.”
Alexandra Chyczij, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (The National Post) on the fifth anniversary of the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine: “Five years on, the perpetrators of this act of terrorism have not been brought to justice.”
Don Braid (The Calgary Herald) on UCP solidarity showing some early cracks: “In Western Canada, and especially Alberta, these conservative splits are virtually inevitable.”